Miscellaneous

Book Review

Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Bismarck
Book Title
Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Bismarck
Author
Jack Brower
Publisher
Conway Maritime Press
ISBN Number
0-85177-982-4
Published
2005
Retail Price
£30.00
Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Bismarck - Scans from the Book
One of the hull drawings included in the book. Excellent front view drawing of Bismarck. A similar aft view drawing of Bismarck is also included of course.
An example of the many drawings of the deck layout. Drawings of the big crane on Bismarck.
Detailed drawings of the different weapons are of course also to be found in the book. Some of the drawings of Bismarck's fire control can be seen here.
Drawings of the ship's Arado Ar196A aircraft. Drawings of Bismarck's small boats is also in the book.

Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Bismarck
Book Review by Evert-Jan Foeth
The AOTS series attempts to be the finest documentation available on an individual ship, focusing mainly on drawings with a reduced emphasis on text and photographs. The series can be split in the yellow and grey covers, wooden and steel ships. Not always are famous ship depicted, giving a variety of interested subjects. The series is aimed at "ship buffs, historians and model makers". Does the new volume on Bismarck succeed? Well, it does, but only to some extent.

This latest volume by Jack Brower is 160 pages, with 130 pages containing some 350 drawings. A brief history and technical description is given, followed by a few photographs. As only a small selection of photographs is given, you’d expect a few distant shots of Bismarck during her career, but half of the photos are well-known close-up of the superstructure. For such material Josef Kaisers new Bismarck book is far better suited.

The drawings are all made by computer. Brower rarely uses anything else than hairlines giving a very bleak effect. If you look closely, you’ll notice that arc’s and circle segments do not line up with the rest of the drawing. Concentric circles aren’t and lines that are drawn out a bit ticker than hairlines are not drawn consistently so. Perhaps this is the result of a poor CAD program or an error during transfer to the publisher and although it isn’t too noticeable I find it distracting. Also, in the later chapters of the book, Brower is rather lavish on empty space, showing pages which are 70% white. I feel the drawings could have been concentrated more for a shorter of more extensive book.

The drawings fit in two sections. A to C describe the ships interior and layout, with sections D-K describing the armament, fittings, ships boats and so on.

Overview drawings from all sides (including front/rear) are given. Not everything is drawn out, for example the practice loaders between C and D turret are missing (in the entire book). The GA drawings are the best part of the book. A longitudinal internal profile, deck drawings and no less than 28 transverse drawings lay out the ship in detail. The fairing of the lines drawing isn’t spectacular and I think the wrong program has been used. Especially lines with high curvature in the sheer elevation are clunky. Of course, it’s good enough to build a model. The thickness of the armor plating is given in an inboard profile, but is surprisingly missing from the mid ship cross section. A series of detailed constructional details on the armor plating joints is a nice touch and a detail I haven’t seen before.

The superstructure is presented in a larger scale, both views from most sides, as well as deck layouts. This complements the cross section nicely. Most of it is drawn in 1:125. Why not 1:100? There is more than enough space. Scales vary, as the forward superstructure is drawn in 1:300, the aft superstructure 1:250, the bridge and forward hangars in 1:125, and the bridge superstructure in 1:200. Section D is called rigging. The mast is drawn, but the actual rigging is not given which also surprises me.

The second half are details. Each turret type is drawn, with the layout of each floor of the main turrets. Here the lack of detail is starting to become noticeable. There are no close ups of the main turrets rangefinders and the drawings are missing a lot of detail. The lack of detail is becoming more apparent toward the end of the book with smaller equipment. Also, legends start to disappear, with no explanation after section F3. All directors from the main rangefinders to the smaller Flak directors plus the searchlights are in a separate section. There’s a plain error in the wobbly pot rangefinder and the smaller directors are either too low in detail or printed at a far too large scale taking up valuable space. It’s with these small details the AOTS books set themselves apart from larger plan sets, so having no detail in this area is a shame. The ground tackle is drawn out nicely, though I’d like to have seen close-ups/drawings of the chain stoppers and anchors. Again, insufficient details.

A separate section deals with the fittings. Close ups of the accommodation ladders, main vents, doors, scuttles rails and paravanes. No hose or cable reels, life rafts, smaller cranes, ready-to-use ammo lockers, rudders or propellers, deck hatches, the breakwater, turret vents, davits, the catapult, practice loaders, the particular bridge 37mm ammo hoist, crane storage brackets, signal lights et cetera. Boats and aircraft are also drawn. I would have liked a few cross-sections on the smaller boats and a line drawing of each. The latter is unfortunately rarely given in any AOTS volume.

I've collected a lot of material on German warships for modeling. Getting a good plan set is most important, but usually details are not drawn out. Finding detailed drawings of the ships launches or anti-aircraft guns can be equally difficult. I'd expect an AOTS volume to contain all this information but this one doesn’t. For building a highly detailed model the existing plan sets are a far better choice (also for small details), though more expensive. The level of detail is too low. Modifications to the ship during its career are not given. For modeling purposes, this volume cannot compete with Skulski’s books or many existing plan sets and I would not recommend it. But, Skulski’s books are often criticized for not showing the interior which is done very well in this volume. If you’re interested in the layout of the ship, this books first 100 pages are very useful.

Book Purchases
Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Bismarck
Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Bismarck

Author: Jack Brower

Hardcover: 160 pages

Publisher: Naval Institute Press (1. November 2005)

Language: English

ISBN: 1591140501

USA
UK
The Type VII U-Boat
Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Type VII U-Boat

Author: David Westwood

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Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Revised edition (1. July 2003)

Language: English

ISBN: 1591148863

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Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Yamato
Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Yamato

Author: Janusz Skulski

Hardcover: 192 pages

Publisher: Naval Institute Press (1. April 1989)

Language: English

ISBN: 087021019X

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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Heavy Cruiser Takao

Author: Janusz Skulski

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Language: English

ISBN: 0851779743

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Fuso
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Author: Janusz Skulski

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Publisher: Naval Institute Press (1. March 1999)

Language: English

ISBN: 1557500460

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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Battlecruiser Hood

Author: John Arthur Roberts

Hardcover: 127 pages

Publisher: Naval Institute Press (1. March 1982)

Language: English

ISBN: 0870210785

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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Cruiser Belfast

Author: Ross Watton

Hardcover: 120 pages

Publisher: Conway Maritime Press (1. November 2003)

Language: English

ISBN: 0851779565

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Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Warspite
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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Warspite

Author: Ross Watton

Hardcover: 120 pages

Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Revised edition (1. October 2002)

Language: English

ISBN: 1591140390

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Anatomy of the Ship - The Aircraft Carrier Victorious
Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Aircraft Carrier Victorious

Author: Ross Watton

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Publisher: Naval Institute Press (15. October 2004)

Language: English

ISBN: 0851779964

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Anatomy of the Ship - The Aircraft Carrier Intrepid
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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Aircraft Carrier Intrepid

Author: Arthur Roberts

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Publisher: Naval Institute Press (1. December 1982)

Language: English

ISBN: 0870219014

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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Dreadnought

Author: John Roberts

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Language: English

ISBN: 085177895X

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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Destroyer Campbeltown

Author: Al Ross

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Language: English

ISBN: 0851779972

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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Flower Class Corvette Agassiz

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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - The Cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni

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Book title: Anatomy of the Ship - Motor Torpedo Boat Fairmile 'D'

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